Welcome back to Take a Look Tuesday, a weekly look at what happened in the other games involving SEC teams. This was an extremely entertaining weekend in the SEC even though one game shone brightest. (Note: I remove sacks and sack yardage from rushes and rushing yardage when necessary to put stats in appropriate context.)
#9 Ole Miss 48 vs Auburn 34
Ole Miss took the military appreciation part of this game a bit more literally than expected by running the ball down Auburn’s throats. 68 carries for 450 yards is an absolute clinic and the most Ole Miss has had in an SEC game in the 1950s (second-most all-time). However, Auburn ran the ball well themselves, finishing with an astonishing 327 yards on 45 carries, and that’s what kept them in this game. Ole Miss looked to be on their way to a blowout when they jumped out 21-0 early, but Auburn wouldn’t bow out without a fight, scoring 17 in the 2nd quarter to bring it to an 11-point halftime deficit. The second half was wild with only the last two drives failing to produce points. It looks like Ole Miss has finally discovered the art of second half scoring. Auburn has a bye this week to contemplate Brian Harsin’s job status. Ole Miss travels to Death Valley Saturday to take on LSU at 2:30 p.m.
Arkansas 52 at BYU 35
I still don’t know why this game got scheduled, but boy was it a good win for the Hogs. KJ Jefferson made a triumphant return to the lineup, going 29/40 for 367 yards and 5 TDs, not to mention having the most incredible avoided sack of the weekend. The Arkansas machine was back in motion with 644 offensive yards against a BYU team that’s not been as good as they were hyped to be. RB Raheim Sanders set a new career high with 175 rushing yards, including a long of 64, and scored 2 TDs of his own. This was a back-and-forth affair for much of the game, but once BYU made it 38-35 Arkansas, the Razorbacks shut things down. After the past three weeks, this was a much-needed win. Even better, Arkansas is on bye this week.
#1 Georgia 55 vs Vanderbilt 0
Georgia beat Vanderbilt 62-0 last year, so it could’ve been worse. Vanderbilt had a chance to put something on the board at the end of the first half, but Joseph Bulovas missed a 44-yard field goal to snuff out those hopes. The Commodores managed a paltry 150 offensive yards in this drubbing. Stetson Bennett threw 2 TDs, his first TD passes in a month somehow, in another great performance. Bennett did not throw the most meaningful TD of this game, though. Late in the 4th quarter, backup QB Carson Beck threw his 2nd TD of the game to TE Arik Gilbert, the former LSU 5-star who left the team in 2020 that hadn’t caught a pass since transferring to Georgia. It was a nice moment for a guy who’d been going through rough times for most of his college career. Vanderbilt travels to Missouri in a winnable game Saturday at 3:00 p.m. Georgia is on bye this week.
#6 Tennessee 52 vs #3 Alabama 49
I was going to be professional about this, but I realized there’s a better way to go about this. HOLY COW, IT HAPPENED, OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, THEY ACTUALLY BEAT BAMA!!!!!!!!! I’m sorry, was I supposed to have any other reaction? Here’s a crazy stat: Alabama held on to the ball for 37:29 and LOST. This was one of the greatest things ever because Tennessee did multiple things that should’ve cost them the game and it didn’t. They let Alabama come back from down 18, they threw an interception down 1, they gave up a scoop and score that gave Alabama at 49-42 lead with less than 8 to play. However, Alabama made uncharacteristic mistakes all day. They broke a school record for penalties in a game and put themselves dead last in the country in total penalties. Jalin Hyatt finished with 6 receptions for 207 yards and 5 TDs. That’s unreal for any game, but against BAMA??? That’s downright unheard of. Hendon Hooker is a Heisman contender, and he might be the frontrunner. Give credit to Bryce Young, he kept the Tide in this game and his play was crucial to their scoring output. Tennessee scored the most points against Alabama since 1907, when former SEC member and current Tennessee D3 school Sewanee scored 54 in a 54-4 (yes, really) win in Tuscaloosa. Also, they tore down the goalposts and threw them in the river, woohoo. Alabama hosts Mississippi State Saturday at 6:00 p.m. Tennessee, in a brilliant bit of scheduling, hosts FCS UT-Martin Saturday at 11:00 a.m.
#22 Kentucky 27 vs #16 Mississippi State 17
Kentucky is better when Will Levis plays. This was a prime example of it in a huge win for the Wildcats to keep their season alive. The first half of this game was a slog. Kentucky had three long, time-consuming drives that ended in a combined 0 points. 11 plays, 43 yards, 5:31, fumble. 10 plays, 10 plays, 28 yards, 6:13, punt. 11 plays, 42 yards, missed 51-yard field goal. Their only point came on a 54-second drive to tie the game at 3 entering the half. The second half was when things finally woke up. That’s when both teams began scoring touchdowns and when RB Chris Rodriguez Jr. woke up feeling angry. Over two thirds of his 196 rushing yards came in the second half as Kentucky chewed and chewed and chewed the clock. They finished with a whopping 39:22 of possession and held the ball for 12:02 in the 4th quarter. Smothering the ball works. Also, 9 carries for 32 yards for the Bulldogs for the old Mike Leach football roots. Mississippi State travels to Alabama Saturday at 6:00 p.m. Kentucky is on bye.